Nzherald.co.nz has reported (22/10/2014) on the accommodation and health issues facing the Flaxmere community.
One of the ongoing problems that the people of Flaxmere face is living in substandard houses that have no home insulation and the health impact of living in damp, cold, overcrowded and substandard housing. Many homes in the area are well below 16 degrees, the temperature recommended by the World Health Organisation.
The Child Health team from Hawke's Bay District Health Board says that children and the elderly are particularly impacted. They have identified a line in Flaxmere where the poor housing starts and where the children get sick.
Dr Phillipa Chapman from Otago University studies housing research and says that there is compelling evidence that shows when homes are insulated, people's health and work productivity is immediately improved. Studies show that there are less visits to the emergency department and the doctor and less days off work.
Local health agencies have no direct funding to provide home insulation but the Hawke's Bay District Health Board and Health Hawke's Bay Primary Health Organisation fund healthy homes within a certain criteria.
Politicians are currently discussing the need for a housing warrant of fitness (WOF) which requires that state houses are up to a certain standard including insulation and smoke alarms. Even though Housing New Zealand homes are now all insulated, there are many private landlords in the area whose homes do not meet the WOF criteria.